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How the WWF inspires global action with social media

Inside WWF: The social media strategy behind the world’s leading conservation organization

WWF International has a mission to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. As the world’s leading independent conservation body, WWF runs many global initiatives that focus on regions and challenges where they make the biggest difference.

  • 59,618
    signups within first 2 months of #EndangeredEmoji campaign
  • 1.6M
    people encouraged to sign a petition to protect Virunga National Park
  • 560,000
    #EndangeredEmoji and WWF mentions at campaign launch

What they did

Managing digital communications among internationally dispersed teams

WWF has more than 5,000 staff working in over 100 countries across six continents. The organisation is composed of international teams, a complex network of country offices, and 13 programmes around endangered species or specific initiatives, such as tiger conservation, the Amazon rainforest, or tackling climate change. Adding to the complexity, many offices have their own communications teams.

As WWF enters new markets and the organizational structure becomes more complex, keeping digital communications secure and collaborating effectively toward one global mission has become more difficult.

WWF uses Hootsuite Enterprise to collaborate among offices and local initiatives around the globe, every day. Adrian Cockle, the Digital Innovation Manager at WWF International, works with a team of six who are spread out geographically to support regional local offices and initiatives. They are in charge of—and use Hootsuite Enterprise to help them:

  • Establish and share social media and campaign strategies globally

  • Create guidelines and training

  • Manage corporate social media accounts worldwide

How they did it

Governing and managing corporate social accounts

Cockle and the international team worked closely with Hootsuite to create an organization within their Hootsuite dashboards that mirrored existing team structures, workflow, languages, and security levels.
WWF takes advantage of Hootsuite Enterprise Single Sign-On (SSO), adding an additional layer of security and making onboarding and removal of employee access simple to manage. This allows them to control user access to all business applications and social media networks from a centrally managed system. Together, Hootsuite and SSO allow WWF’s international teams to collaborate, assign permission levels and control, and secure all communications.

Establishing social media strategies regionally, worldwide

With such a large international audience, WWF uses Hootsuite’s enhanced demographic targeting and geo-fencing to focus the target audience of country offices by language and location. This way, the Spanish country office, for example, can share Spanish content on WWF International’s Facebook Page, but target audiences in Spain.

Customized analytics for every team

Understanding that each team has different objectives, WWF uses Hootsuite Insights for in-depth social analyticsEighty users have access to create customized boards that monitor and measure social data for any demographic or target market, in any language. Communications staff from around the world has access to these reports to understand what works in various markets.

On official global WWF social media accounts, teams receive more inbound communications than they can handle. Hootsuite Insights allows WWF to identify recurring themes, set alerts around influencer-mentions, and take action where necessary.

The results

With security and collaborative workflow in place, WWF can more effectively support global social media efforts such as international social campaigns.

Image of a gorilla
Hootsuite helps us ensure that WWF’s social media presence is always on-brand, secure, and according to our strategy. Together with Hootsuite Insights, we’re immediately notified if an action is required.
Adrian Cockle
Digital Innovation Manager

What's next

Increasing brand awareness with the #EndangeredEmoji campaign

For example, WWF used Hootsuite to launch their #EndangeredEmoji campaign. Their objectives were to increase brand awareness, engage with new audiences, and highlight endangered species. The campaign featured 17 animal emoji which were allocated to endangered species and accompanied by educational and protection information. To take part in the campaign, Twitter users simply retweet WWF’s #EndangeredEmoji image. Every time that user tweets an animal emoji thereafter, WWF tracks usage and adds a small monetary amount for an optional donation at the end of each month.

During the #EndangeredEmoji campaign, WWF:

  • Received 59,618 signups within the first two months of the campaign

  • Garnered global press coverage and influencer attention

  • Inspired similar campaigns from other nonprofit organizations 

Igniting public emotion for the Virunga campaign

In the Virunga campaign, WWF launched a multi-pronged campaign to stop a UK-based oil company from exploiting Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo—and the rainforest home to mountain gorillas. WWF aimed to ignite public emotion enough to take action and sign a petition. Not only did they get the emotional response they were looking for, but after 1.6 million signed the petition, the campaign became backed by law and business ethics—protecting the World Heritage Site and habitat in the future.

overhead view of a forest

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